The Board is responsible for the Group's system of internal control. This has been designed to manage, rather than eliminate, the risk of any failure to meet business objectives. It can only provide reasonable assurance - not absolute assurance - against material misstatement or loss. The Board's approach to risk management is supported by an oversight structure which includes the Audit Committee.
The key elements of the Group’s internal control system can be summarised as follows:
• an established organisation structure with clear lines of responsibility, approval levels and delegated authorities
• a management and committee structure which facilitates regular performance review and decision-making
• a comprehensive strategic review and annual planning process
• a robust budgeting, forecasting and financial reporting process. This includes regular progress, actions and performance updates versus targets and key performance indicators to the London Executive Committee, the Retail Executive Committee, the Executive Committee and the Board
• a rigorous preparation process for the consolidated financial results involving a number of review stages
• various policies, procedures and guidelines underpinning the development, asset management, financing and main operations of the business, together with professional services support including legal, human resources, information services, tax, company secretarial and health and safety
• a compliance certification process from management conducted bi-annually regarding business activities generally
• a disciplined post acquisition review and integration programme to ensure the Group’s governance, procedures, standards and control environment are rolled out effectively and timely
• a constantly updated property information management system spanning the Group’s entire portfolio.